BRISBANE, Calif. - Peanut allergies continue to rise in the U.S. with the latest estimate of about 2.5 percent of American children affected.
A Bay Area company is working to offer the first treatment to prevent serious allergic reactions to peanuts.
Swelling of the throat and cardiac arrest are both potential reactions for those with severe peanut allergies.
That's why a pill engineered by Brisbane-based pharmaceutical Aimmune Therapeutics is generating excitement.
The company announced Tuesday its daily capsules of peanut flour sprinkled over food helped build children's tolerance to peanut protein.
Aimmune's trial involved nearly 500 kids ranging in age from 4 to 17.
It found that 67-percent of children who had the treatment for a year were able to tolerate the equivalent of two peanuts, compared to 4-percent of kids given a dummy powder.
Lincoln Hayes is a dad from Walnut Creek.
"Speaking as a parent who's had a child that had anaphylactic shock twice with peanuts, rushing to the hospital using EpiPens, just day to day living going to a restaurant can turn into a nightmare for a parent. So these types of studies provide us with hope," Hayes said.
The results have not yet been reviewed by independent experts.
Aimmune is doing additional studies and plans to apply for FDA approval later this year.
The company says the initial six months of treatment will run $5,000 to $10,000 and drop to about $300 to $400 after that.
Doctors say don't try exposing your allergy-prone child to peanuts at home because it needs to be done in a controlled, safe setting.